Fourth graders from Walnut Grove Elementary School attended the February 5 Pleasanton City Council meeting. After presenting information on the negative impacts of plastics, including a floating island of trash in the ocean, they asked the council to consider controlling the use of plastic straws, as well as other plastics in the city.
At the end of the meeting, Councilmember Jerry Pentin requested an agenda item to consider a plastic straw ban in Pleasanton. He added, "There would be opportunities to look at other plastic use in the City."
He noted that he had been involved in analyzing the make-up of the floating island of trash, supplying the underwater cameras. "It's soupy water with little pieces of plastic for the most part." He added that to help deal with plastic, "We can take a stand right here in Pleasanton."
City Manager Nelson Fialho said that the Energy and Environment Committee had looked at the use of plastics as one of its priorities. He suggested the council discuss the issue at its priority setting session. The council agreed.
The students' teacher, Jennifer Bell, explained that the students had watched the film "Straws," which focused on the impact of single use plastics on the environment. "It inspired the students to think more deeply and take action in their own lives." She said they wanted to help inform the council and ask for progress regarding the reduction in the use of plastics.
Students Piper and Olivia talked about the impact on turtles and other sea life.
Mia said, "We feel we need to stop using plastic in schools, restaurants and other places There is a whole island made up of trash that is spreading where sea life lives. Scientists say that there is more plastic than sea life in some places."
"Plastic is a big problem," declared Juliet. "Plastic bags look like jelly fish and animals eat them. We need to reduce the use of plastics and use reusable straws."
Jacob suggested that a new law could make it so that plastic straws were available only by request.
Sanji pointed out that we are the ones putting the trash in the oceans. In addition to straws, he wanted to eliminate the packages of plastic utensils, making them available only when they were asked for.
Edward suggested that straws could be made of bamboo, which can grow up to 3 feet a day."I kindly ask people to stop using plastic. It takes 200 years to break down plastics. Mother Nature can't deal with it. We will destroy Mother Nature."
Mayor Jerry Thorne commented, "You have given us some really good information."
Councilmember Karla Brown added that the floating island of trash is scary. "It's time to do something about it."